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ScavHunt211 203

VoidEngineer writes "Well, it's that time of the year again... the World's Largest Scavenger Hunt has begun again. (This is the same annual Scavenger Hunt where the students built the breeder reactor, for item #240, back in 1999...) Anyhow, you can find the list here. This year, the competition is between 9 teams and there are 307 items. Nerdy items include, but are not limited to: #2 From the fetid swamps of Lotan to the teeming forests of Jojojop, Endor is an ancient, mysterious, beautiful land, deserving to be rendered as a full-color map fit for National Geographic, circa TA 3019; [51 points] #46 Mobius stripper. Must be non-orientable. Must not emphasize the one-dimensionality of the stripper's personality. [28 points]. #98 A piece of the Space Shuttle Columbia with NASA verification [155 points] #101 A hologram of an entire team member. [50 points] #136 Explain string theory using only sock puppets. The Judge must understand. [19 points]"
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ScavHunt211

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  • by shobadobs ( 264600 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @09:11PM (#5923702)
    I remember summer camp scavenger hunts -- we'd just have to look for trash on the last day of camp.
  • Nerdy? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by panxerox ( 575545 )
    A piece of Columbia for a scav hunt is not Nerdy its a desecration.
    • by hpa ( 7948 )
      Only if it was part of the space shuttle when it exploded. I'm sure parts which were replaced from the Shuttle while it was still operational probably exist.
    • A piece of Columbia for a scav hunt is not Nerdy its a desecration.

      Perhaps only if the scavenger picked it up and hauled it in for a prize. If the scavenger simply points it out to the proper authorities and got a receipt, it could be a good thing, sorta.

      I'll stick with GeoCaching :o) (see journal entries)

    • Re:Nerdy? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by maxpublic ( 450413 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @12:08AM (#5924271) Homepage
      Nah, screwing your girlfriend on the altar of a church is a desecration. Collecting bloody, scorched pieces of the Columbia is just in bad taste.

      Max
    • Yes, what would the heroes think of that?

      I can't think of anything more heroic than dying from flying into a bunch of birds. (No it's not official, and it will never be, but I've got sources)

      • Where did you get that idea from? I'm not saying it can't be true, but I seem to get the idea that they were way too high for birds when they crumbled.

        And desecration is in the eye of the holder. Myself, I'd like a piece of the shuttle in memorandum. Actually, I probably wouldn't because it would bug me. But if I did have a piece, it would be held with great respect.

        --
        Evan

    • A piece of Columbia for a scav hunt is not Nerdy its a desecration.

      Not if it's turned in to NASA as it should be. Then, it's a public service.

      You think it's easy finding a piece of Columbia at this point?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 09, 2003 @09:14PM (#5923719)
    NASA has said that any one who is in poession of said parts will be liable for criminal conduct.
  • mine... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Subnirvana337 ( 572385 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @09:18PM (#5923729)
    I remember back in the day, we'd bug the neighbors for different things, beer, wine, cigerettes, and ya know what? They actually gave it to us because they saw it on the list!
  • Bad taste (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WIAKywbfatw ( 307557 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @09:19PM (#5923733) Journal
    ...#98 A piece of the Space Shuttle Columbia with NASA verification [155 points]...

    Does anybody else think that this is in bad taste? Why not ask for shrapnel removed from a Iraqi bombing victim or one of the envelopes that anthrax spores were mailed in last year.

    I appreciate that NASA may have given away or auctioned off parts of Columbia prior to the recent disaster but, legitimately acquired or not, why ask for a piece of that particular shuttle? Why not a piece of Atlantis, Discovery, Endeavour or even Enterprise?

    I'm sorry but, even though I enjoy a good scavenger hunt as much as the next man, I can't see how anyone could possibly enjoy the 155 points they could get from a Columbia debris fragment. (And, clearly, getting hold of a debris fragment is the target goal here.)

    Sick, sick, sick.
    • Re:Bad taste (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Maybe NASA asked for this to be added so that they can get the pieces that are turned in as part of the hunt.
    • by Pilferer ( 311795 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @09:23PM (#5923750)
      ...#98 A piece of the Space Shuttle Columbia with NASA verification [155 points]...

      Does anybody else think that this is in bad taste?


      No. But I think it makes for a poor challenge. I can just buy a piece off of ebay!

      Pffft!
    • by _ph1ux_ ( 216706 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @09:24PM (#5923756)
      Ya they shoulda asked for a piece of Challenger. I mean c'mon - every body in rural texas had a piece of Columbia dropped in their back yards.

      How come all the shuttles that explode start in 'C'?
    • Re:Bad taste (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Quixote ( 154172 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @09:26PM (#5923760) Homepage Journal
      I agree with you in principle, but it could be that they are asking for a piece of Columbia that need not necessarily be debris; it could be a piece that NASA had given out in the past. Obviously, a debris piece would not be allowed by NASA to be taken away (hence the "NASA verification" rider).

      See, for example, this [ebay.com].

      • but it could be that they are asking for a piece of Columbia that need not necessarily be debris; it could be a piece that NASA had given out in the past.

        >>From the parent post<<

        I appreciate that NASA may have given away or auctioned off parts of Columbia prior to the recent disaster...

        (And, clearly, getting hold of a debris fragment is the target goal here.)

        The parent post already conceded that point. Don't backtrack. The issue was the bad taste that goal is in.
    • Re:Bad taste (Score:5, Informative)

      by B3ryllium ( 571199 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @09:29PM (#5923772) Homepage
      Re-reading the article, I see that it says "With NASA verification". That firmly indicates that it should be a pre-explosion item, and not a piece of debris.
      • ...that one must be one of the people with *legitimate* access to the actual debris? And while it was, yes, a tragedy, that'd point to one of the people actually looking for the *answers*, which I don't think is in bad taste at all.
    • Are the organizers of the hunt French by any chance? I seem to remember a substantial portion of their population rooting for Americans to die by the thousands recently.
  • #308 (Score:5, Funny)

    by _ph1ux_ ( 216706 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @09:22PM (#5923744)
    An original Idea for the scavenger hunt that doesnt weakly attempt to show how witty, creative, pretentious and just plain lame we actually are. The Judges must look like the morons they are. [242 points]
  • by everyplace ( 527571 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @09:26PM (#5923763) Homepage
    What's funny about this item is that last year I wrote up a PBS-oriented kids show, about a mad professor black hole (think of a black sock puppet with a mustache, googley eyes, and a black swirley patterned outfit) called "The Great Abyss". He went around talking with his sidekick, every now and then making hilarous jokes about Twistor Theory.

    I'm sure we could dig up the old material if anyone wanted to adapt it to string theory. Heh.
  • by Quixote ( 154172 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @09:31PM (#5923776) Homepage Journal
    #136 Explain string theory using only sock puppets. [19 points]

    For some of my (former) TAs, this would be 19 easy points.

    Wait.. they said "The Judge must understand. ". Oops, never mind.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 09, 2003 @09:32PM (#5923789)
    how about a LUG member who has had sex?
  • by xintegerx ( 557455 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @09:35PM (#5923805) Homepage
    (Note: a 'phrenologist' is a guy who studies the brain by the bumps on the skull.)
    --
    "103. Phrenological examination of a Judge.

    Points: (IQ of Judge) / 10, with IQ as determined by the phrenologist.

    Double points if you have a licensed phrenologist."

    --

  • by Gefiltefish ( 125066 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @09:37PM (#5923811)

    308. _______ An clear and understandable methodology that will enable scavenger hunt organizers and judges to get a date, finally! [532 points for an actual woman] [54 points for compliant farm animals]
  • #158. Yarr!

    (Of course, I must assume that all slashdotters actually read the article like good... um.. slashdotters.)
  • by UniverseIsADoughnut ( 170909 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @09:50PM (#5923860)
    #136 Explain string theory using only sock puppets. The Judge must understand. [19 points]"

    Anyone else feel that Mr. Rodgers or Seaseme Street ruined our childhoods by not doing this.

    see the Count, count dimensions....it could work

    Yes they are muppets, but it's still just a glorified sock puppet.

  • Get a grip (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @09:51PM (#5923868)
    A "mobius stripper"? Why is it always with the nerdy population that we find such blatant sexism and a desire to exploit women?

    Why is it always with the feminists that we find such blatant cluelessness and absolutely ZERO sense of humor?

    Like the people who bitched about the NASA thing, get a grip! This is the group that put a breeder reactor on last year's list. They're JOKES, nobody seriously expects people to do a lot of the items; they're there for laughs. Go on. Read the damn list, it's hillarious.

    Are you people still wondering why no women want to enter the fields of engineering or computer science? It's a hostile environment, plain and simple, and you assholes are the cause.

    Isn't it funny how the people who bitch the loudest about stereotypes, never hesistate to use 'em themselves? Your statement is about as true as "all girls like frilly dresses, dolls, and playing dress-up, and hate math." You've just blanket-labelled the CS and engineering profession as male pigs.

    Most CS/Engineering types I knew in college were practically -scared- of women, not beer-guzzling chauvenist pigs. They were some of the nicest, most intelligent, well-balanced people I knew, and a number of them were involved in long-term relationships with rather indepentent, intelligent women. Pick someone else to vent your "I hate the world" rage on, please.

    PS, you're still using a written-by-male-pigs spell-check, otherwise your post would have spelled womyn correctly, right?

    • by kriegsman ( 55737 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @10:14PM (#5923947) Homepage
      A "mobius stripper"? Why is it always with the nerdy population that we find such blatant sexism and a desire to exploit women? ...

      Wait, wait, wait. Where did it say that the stripper had to be a woman? Please review:

      #46 Mobius stripper. Must be non-orientable. Must not emphasize the one-dimensionality of the stripper's personality. [28 points].

      Unless I'm missing something, the requirements for Item #46 on the list could be fulfulled by either a man or a woman, as long as they're "a stripper." So who's making the sexist assumptions now?

      And topologically speaking, it might actually be easier to construct a Mobius strip from a man's body anyway, assuming of course that he's limber, big *ahem*, and stupid (1/2 gen[i]us).

      -Mark
    • by thynk ( 653762 ) <slashdot.thynk@us> on Friday May 09, 2003 @10:20PM (#5923966) Homepage Journal
      Most CS/Engineering types I knew in college were practically -scared- of women, not beer-guzzling chauvenist pigs.

      Heck, I'm still -scared- of women, but I have good cause, I was married.
    • Why is it always with the feminists that we find such blatant cluelessness and absolutely ZERO sense of humor?

      Dude, are you sure it was a feminist, and not some troll looking for, uh, exactly the response that you gave?

      As they said back in the day, YHBT YHL HAND [elsewhere.org].

    • Whoa! I didn't know /. got a new Editor [slashdot.org]!
    • Most CS/Engineering types I knew in college were practically -scared- of women, not beer-guzzling chauvenist pigs.

      As a male chauvenist pig, I find your statement patently offensive. I prefer wine.
  • by Needanewnick ( 672293 ) <lucifersamNO@SPAMlightdeprived.com> on Friday May 09, 2003 @09:53PM (#5923876)
    I think the real reason for these is to see how clever the participants really are. I remember doing quite bad at scavenger hunts as a kid because I was too literal. "Find a Fish" so I was angry because the time limit wouldn't allow me time to go fishing or to go to the store even, but wait, every other person got it! They made a "fish" out of paper, or drew one on the back of the item list.

    My point is that some of these are meant to be stupid or un-realistic. The challenge is to see if the participants can think in a way that isn't a straight line. How clever is the guy who got every thing on the list, but just went out and bought/stolen each item. How about the gal who was able to fake it and still got the credit. Better yet how about the other fellow who declared the whole universe to be an illusion, and won because there was no contest in the first place.

    Ignore me because I'm not really here.
  • Can they be Me, Myself, and I?
  • by evenprime ( 324363 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @09:59PM (#5923901) Homepage Journal
    According to this story [nytimes.com] from 1999, the guys who made the breeder reactor were U. of Chicago physics majors Justin Kasper and Fred Niell. They assembled it in Justin's dorm room.
    • Anyone have the full text or another story about this for free?

      Assume the article is:

      On Campus; It's that season at Chicago, and Ph.D.'s have taken a back seat to a degree of silliness.

      By Andrew Bluth (NYT) 997 words
      • by Noksagt ( 69097 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @10:34PM (#5924019) Homepage
        Yeah, so I'm an idiot:

        ''People think of the University of Chicago and they think the students are weird,'' says Tom Howe, a junior from Atlanta. Having taken off his chicken suit, he is wearing a cardboard crown from a Burger King Kid's Meal. ''We want to show that intellectual doesn't necessarily mean stuffy.''

        It is this philosophy -- that Chicago students can have fun if they really put their minds to it -- that gave birth to the University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt, a yearly celebration of looniness at a campus far better known for its Nobel laureates.

        Putting aside term papers for a long weekend, hundreds of undergraduates in teams representing dormitories and student organizations range around the campus -- and, this year, the North American continent -- in search of items that will never be found in a course catalogue. The grand prize is $500, but the goal, says Mr. Howe, is loftier: ''to make the participants maximize their intellectual creativity.''

        These were among the 339 items on the list for this year's scavenger hunt, released at the stroke of midnight on May 6:

        No. 123: A computer suffering a year 2000 problem.

        No. 262: Five Mensa membership cards.

        No. 167: A 15-foot-tall monument to Grimace, the McDonald's Happy Meal character.

        No. 40: A tenured professor willing to recite profane lyrics from a gangsta rap song.

        Each team works from an identical list; items are assigned points, based on difficulty, and the team with the most points by Sunday afternoon is the winner. The wording of certain clues often suggests a trip to a far-flung destination -- having a team member photographed with an Ontario police officer, for instance.

        Teams are often elaborately organized, with ''page masters'' assigned to each page of the list and at least one person operating a computer long after midnight in search of Web sites that will lead the team to cubic zirconia (20 points) or Chicago Bulls season tickets (15 points) or an autographed photograph of the Food Network star Jacqui Malouf (30 points).

        ''One of the items on the list was the 'street value of Mount Everest,' '' said Sam Hunt, a freshman competing for his dorm, Shoreland Hall. ''So we posted it on Ebay, and made it look pretty, with a nice picture of the mountain and everything. The bidding got up to $180 before we got kicked off the site.''

        The Shoreland team is run out of sixth-floor dormitory room of its captain, Ryan Miller. By the end of the weekend, Thai food containers litter the floor and at least three trash cans are overflowing with empty soda cans. The members have slept little if at all, and the room is a nest of cables that wire no fewer than six personal computers.

        When the phone rings, it is answered with a curt ''Command central'' and calls are kept short so that the line can be free for a check-in from the road-trip group, probably somewhere in Canada.

        ''From what we can gather, the road-trip team is doing really well,'' Mr. Miller says. ''Except last time they checked in, they sounded drunk.''

        Other items on this year's list included building a nuclear reactor from scratch (one team was actually successful -- this is the University of Chicago, after all), an edible iMac computer and a ticket to a local theater for a certain movie opening May 19. (To these students, the date needs no further explanation.)

        No one is really sure how or when the scavenger hunt began, but they do know it is a welcome break from economics exams and Shakespeare papers -- a way to demonstrate, in Mr. Howe's words, that ''we actually can have fun on this campus.''

        And how do you say fun on a college campus better than a keg toss? As part of the Scavolympics, a string of a dozen events before the final judging that teams compete for points in, all 13 teams came together to recreate a battle of the Civil War, to demonstrate a fight between Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth, and, yes, to toss a keg.

        Competing for his dorm, Hitchcock-S
    • by Rufus211 ( 221883 ) <rufus-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:15AM (#5924507) Homepage
      I remember posting this last year, so I might as well Karma whore this year again.

      Yes, they did it.

      Here is /.'s article about it from the time:
      http://slashdot.org/articles/99/05/20/13202 56.shtm l

      Here is about the best explination I've seen:

      Here are the explanatory posts by the two guys who made the reactor on the University of Chicago local newsgroups: Enjoy!
      Alright, I just want to set a couple things straight, so here are some responses to oft heard comments the last few days:

      1. "I assume they used U-238 to get to Pu-239..." we did not start with any uranium or plutonium, that would have ruined the fun, and the point was to make fissionable materials. Our starting material was thorium, which can be found at any hardware store. we happened to have some in our dorm room... The final products were Uranium 233 and Plutonium 238. I'm not going to spoon feed the decay chains to anyone, you can figure it out yourself if you really need to.

      2. "You endangered the life of my son!" We created a neutron source using some shit we pulled out of a trash can. This source was safer and less radioactive than the radioisotope Americium 241 found in the smoke detector in each of your rooms.

      3. "Someone said your roommate lost his job because he built a nuclear reactor" Neither I nor my rommmate have lost our jobs since doing this.

      4. "I hear you paid another group to steal Plutonium for you" We did not steal Uranium or Plutonium from anywhere. Nor did we have anyone
      else steal some for us.

      5. "but to qualify as a true breeder, doesn't the reaction have to be self-sustaining?" No. A breeder reactor just means taking advantage of all those tasty neutrons flying off from whatever source you have, be it a sustained fission reaction or a naturally radioactive source. The best neutron source on campus would be the Physics Dept's neutron howitzer. But since the howitzer produces neutrons from the decay of Plutonium, you have to agree it would be silly to use it to try and make plutonium.

      6. "(I'll be really impressed if the two come up with a micro-fusion reactor.)" We'd fly back next year just for that one...

      - Juniper Tasks

      Just some clarification for the readers who've forgotten their nuclear physics:

      U-235 is the fissionable used in the Hiroshima bomb and Pu-239 in the Nagasaki bomb. U-238 is used in fast breeder reactors to make weapons grade Pu-239. (U-238 is also used in fission-fusion-fission bombs, so technically it is fissionable with a net gain of energy but you need really fast neutrons).

      Thorium was to have been used in slow breeder reactor technology which turns out U-233 as its fissionable. (Is Pu-238 fissionable at low neutron
      energies with a net gain? The even Z makes me think not...)

      I thought you had started with depleted uranium to make a fast breeder; didn't know the thorium isotope available from hardware stores was the
      one used in slow breeders. Well, with a small sample of thorium and a neutron source, you can make the U-233. But with a fully functioning breeder don't you need some of the U-233 created to fission and transform the rest of the thorium without running away and slagging the reactor or damping out so you never end up with more thorium than whatever's directly exposed to your neutron source? I suppose the nuclear engineering definition of a breeder has to be more pragmatic.

      Fred and Justin didn't begin with any uranium.
      (Uranium, after all, ain't a commonly available thing.) They began with some thorium and an alpha source, which they just happened to have lying
      around. They used the alpha source to make a neutron source, and bombarded the thorium. This induced a chain of reactions, the final products of which were fissionable uranium and plutonium.
  • ... this gives me ideas for next year's initiations for ou natural sciences computer-oriented program...

    /me runs off screaming " .... 3. PROFIT!"

  • I like #97 (Score:5, Funny)

    by evenprime ( 324363 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @10:30PM (#5924008) Homepage Journal
    In honor of our new Freedom of Information, inform as many people as you can of the home phone numbers of John Poindexter, John Ashcroft and Tom Ridge in a massive publicity campaign.
  • It'd be funny, although sad as well, if the hardest working team forgot item #291. Forgetting it means disqualification.
    • Re:#291 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Remik ( 412425 )
      Every year there is a Judges/Captains meeting in the same place at the same time. Each year the item is described a bit different on the list, but the idea that a team could 'forget' it is kinda silly.

      Now, if you're meaning just the roadtrip...that's not an essential part of the hunt as a whole. It's certainly important, but it is possible to score high without fielding a roadtrip team.

      -R
  • They had done an item:

    Verified and confirmed by Matt Groening - The one true state in the United States that Springfield exists in.

    And no, the official "No state" answer is not acceptable.

  • stupid. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by glwtta ( 532858 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @11:46PM (#5924196) Homepage
    #98 A piece of the Space Shuttle Columbia with NASA verification [155 points]

    Stupid, and in poor taste. I am sure I'll get bitched out for being far too "PC" (never heard this one in real life, for some reason) or for not having a sense of humor, which would somehow apply here, but that doesn't make it any less stupid.

    Oh someone mentioned that they want it "NASA certified" so it's not debris they are looking for, well why the fuck don't they ask for Discovery, Atlantis or Endeavour then?

    • Oh someone mentioned that they want it "NASA certified" so it's not debris they are looking for, well why the fuck don't they ask for Discovery, Atlantis or Endeavour then?

      Because getting parts from a shuttle that stille exists would be easier than getting parts from a shuttle that doesn't?
    • Oh someone mentioned that they want it "NASA certified" so it's not debris they are looking for, well why the fuck don't they ask for Discovery, Atlantis or Endeavour then?

      You know that Columbia was over 20 years old, right? You know that the shuttles go through EXTENSIVE rebuilds after every mission, right? You know that there are plenty of parts more or less tossed out after these rebuilds, right?

      You know it's possible to have a piece of Columbia that is not debris from the shuttle's demise.... right
    • They have been selling old bits of verified thermal protective shield for eons at museum shops globally. All verified as the real deal

      Relax Guy!!!

      As Columbia was the first manned shuttle, it has a lot of memorabilia available...
  • I know...do you? Let's test the Slashdot smarts.

    -R
    • 211 is hex for 529!
  • by mabhatter654 ( 561290 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:27AM (#5924688)
    This would make a wicked "reality TV" special! Of course it would have to be Nickeloden or Discovery channel, but it would do wonders to actually show something "useful" like this on Kids TV. [edited for content of course, but anymore that's not a big deal!]
  • Skeet Surfing is on the list (#15)!

    This is the sport introduced in the Top Secret! movie (1984), where you shoot skeets while surfing... and that's surfing as in ON A SURFBOARD. ON WATER. ON HIGH, TRICKY WAVES. WITH A LOADED SHOTGUN. This has got to be the world's most difficult sport to master...

HELP!!!! I'm being held prisoner in /usr/games/lib!

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